ethical challenges of boundary issues

Topics: Ethics, Case study, Business ethics Pages: 5 (1618 words) Published: February 5, 2014


Ethical Challenges of Boundary Issues
Jean Berry
Walden University
Ethics and Legal Issues in Counseling

Ethical Challenges of Boundary Issues
Boundaries exist to protect the welfare of clients who are in a vulnerable position in the relationship as well as place limits that promote integrity and help us understand the parameters of the relationship (Remley & Herlihy, 2014). Boundaries between therapist and client come in many forms and exist in many contextual forms. Crossing a boundary has potential effects, both damaging and strengthening, to the helping relationship. We must be able to recognize these boundaries and broach them with caution when dealing with our clients. Summary of Ethical Challenges in Case Study #9

In this case study we find the ethical dilemma is that the counselor, Diana, failed to properly cover the issues of informed consent and confidentiality with her clients, Mr.& Mrs. Cole. By not properly covering confidentiality issues and informed consent with her clients, she has found herself in a position that places competence, neutrality and her client’s confidentiality at risk (Herlihy & Corey, 2006, p. 195). Diana holds information from Mr. Cole that would help Mrs. Cole but is not at liberty to disclose that information with her. If she did so it would be a violation of the other client’s confidentiality, as she did not cover that during her initial meeting with the couple. Applicable Ethical Codes

Implementing best practices, Diana should have made clear at the beginning of her session with the Cole’s that she would not keep any information from one or the other. The addressing of informed consent would have alleviated this situation for Diana. This issue is addressed in The American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethic section A.2.a.which states, Informed Consent Clients have the freedom to choose whether to enter into or remain in a counseling relationship and need adequate information about the counseling process and the counselor (2005). A second issue that Diana should have addressed with the Cole’s is that Mrs. Cole was the primary client and that Mr. Cole was later asked to join them in the sessions. Although Mr. Cole sought to resolve issues individually with Diana, the primary client is Mrs. Cole. This issue also should have been addressed in their initial meeting. The ACA Code of Ethics states in section B.4.b. when dealing with couples and family counseling, that in couples and family counseling, counselors clearly define who is considered “the client” and discuss expectations and limitations of confidentiality (2005). Summary of Ethical Challenges in Case Study #14

Teresa is a professional counselor who moves with her son to a small town and befriends the school’s principal Evelyn. Their children are close friends, and the women share many things in common. The women develop a close friendship. The children spend much time with each other at Teresa’s home. Evelyn confides in Teresa that there are some issues with her child, Charlie, and asks her to take him on as a client. Teresa is the only counselor in a three hour radius. Teresa is reluctant and discusses her reluctance with Evelyn, but they come to an agreement and Teresa takes Charlie on as a client. Teresa meets with Charlie and discusses confidentiality with him. Charlie shares some things with Teresa that she feels need to be broached with Evelyn and she struggles with how to address them with her. Teresa finds that the situation of counseling Charlie has become an issue and that she must actively seek supervision to sort through the situation with Charlie and Evelyn (Herlihy & Corey, 2006, p. 218). Applicable Ethical Codes

The ACA states in standard A.5.c that a counselor–client nonprofessional relationships with clients, former clients, their romantic partners, or their family members should be avoided, except when the interaction is potentially beneficial to the client (2005). Although...


References: American Counseling Association (ACA). (2005). 2005 ACA code of ethics [White Paper]. Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org/docs/ethics/aca_2005_ethical_code.pdf?sfvrsn=2
Herlihy, B., & Corey, G. (2006). ACA Ethical Standards Casebook (sixth edition Ed.). Alexandria, Virginia: American Counseling Association.
Josephson Institute of Ethics. 2002. "Making Sense of Ethics". http://www.josephsoninstitute.org/MED/MED-1makingsense.htm.
Remley, JR., T. P., & Herlihy, B. (2014). Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues in Counseling (4th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Inc.
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